North Texas Town Embraces Tattoo Culture
9th Street Studios in Wichita Falls hosted the first ever "Ink in the Falls", an art gallery event showcasing local tattoo artists. Wichita Falls, widely considered a traditional and conservative town, is now making waves in the art scene. 9th Street Studios is located in the highly preserved Maer Heyrdrick #2 downtown building constructed in the early 1900s. 9th Street Studios is owned by Linda Deason and Becky Raeke, managed by Stephen Taylor. Stephen largely credits the event to Erin Harman, his inspiration and backbone to the gallery event. Stephen met Linda and Becky by chance, and now the team is close to celebrating their one year studio anniversary in October. Stephen said, “In the last couple of years, we have seen all the pieces start to fall together downtown. We’re proud to have our little corner in all this.”
Although city ordinance did not allow for any live tattooing, Lofo Designs was present and provided beautiful henna tattoos for those wanting a little skin art. Standing tables and lounge areas were filled with candies and finger foods, and craft beer was supplied by Sidecar Brewery, the city’s first craft beer brewery. The rooms were filled with artwork and live music, and quickly swarmed with excited onlookers. The local shops featured included Cowabunga Ink, The Human Canvas, Rusty's Needles, and Underground Tattoo and Body Piercing. Rusty and Mike can be seen standing with their favorite prices from the show (Rusty's Needles, Wichita Falls). Raffle tickets were sold for a $600 tattoo announced at the end of the night. Stephen said the attendance was double what the team had anticipated.
Saturday night's event also featured It Hurts to be Dead- the band members, Sean Snyder (guitar and vocals), Nick Thornton (bass), and Kevin Gilmore (drums and vocals), opened with “Black December”. Sean said, “The show at 9th Street Studios was a breath of fresh air. So many masters of their craft under one roof, it was a blast to share our art with other artists and to see so many styles and mediums." You can find IHTBD on Bandcamp, and their latest EP “Old Habits and Die Hards” will release later this fall.
One attendee said, "I hope to see more things like this popping up. I think a lot is changing with the revival of these old buildings. 9th Street rocks." Wichita Falls now has their Downtown Proud organization working to rebuild the area, bringing life and culture back to the downtown area. These tattoo studios collaborated for an event the city can’t stop raving about! Ink in the Falls was a success!